Saturday, September 27, 2008

A HypnoBirthing story from Costa Rica

Here's a HypnoBirth story from Sara R. I Hope you find it inspiring...

Our birthing story in Costa Rica

I need to start this birthing story by remembering the wonderful pregnancy I had. I had some nausea and upset stomach in the first three months, mainly due to the prenatal vitamins that were not really in sync with my system until I found the right ones for me. I suffered from some heartburn in the 8th month and the last month was tough on my swollen ankles which I tried to relieve by swimming 3 times a week for an hour until the very last week ofpregnancy. I also suffered from mild sacrum pain during the 7th and 8th month but yoga , swimming and some chiropractic appointments really made things better. Sleeping has never really been easy for me throughout my life and during pregnancy it got worse , especially the last few months, but I guess I was just getting prepared for what followed. Overall it was a really easy and peaceful pregnancy where I tried to exercise and be as healthy as possible. I practiced prenatal yoga, walked, followed a HypnoBirthing course and practiced visualizing the most peaceful, easy and fearless birth possible. I had prepared my body and was as healthy as I could possibly be.

On Friday, October 5th at 2 AM I woke up with some uncomfortable surges and noticedthey were coming each hour or so. I went through the morning by going to the supermarket and running a few errands, as contractions were slowly risingand getting closer together. I kept hydrated with water and Gatorade and really never felt hungry all day so I skipped lunch. After lunch I noticed some brownish mucus-like-thing when I went to the bathroom and thought.. "OK, this must be the famous uterine seal. Here we go".

At 3 PM I called my doctor to tell him my waves were now every 20 minutes. He asked me to go see him in his office and after he checked me he told me I was already 4 cm dilated and I should calmly make my way to the hospital so they could keep Emma's heart monitored. Jeff and I went to buy the last few things, prepared our hospital bag and headed to the CIMA hospital, in Costa Rica . I registered in the hospital, signing all the paperwork and walked to my room. I placed my yoga mat on the floor and Jeff turned on the Ipod where I had prepared my birthing music, especially the sound of waves. Emma's heart was monitored and she seemed to be doing well. It was amazing to see that through each contraction her little heart beat would slow down and then pick up again right after the wave was over. We also had a machine where we could see the peak of each contraction and it would measure theintensity and the time between them. Jeff and I were pretty entertained by this machine, although I was only on it for about 20 minutes since the nurse considered everything was just perfect. Surges were now coming every 10 minutes or so and I just concentrated and breathed through them.

My doula, Ansu, arrived at 5:30 PM and that is about the time when the second stage of labor began. My surges were 5 minutes apart and beginningto get laborious. A nurse checked me and I was about 6 cm dilated. We began really breathing through each wave and enjoying the times in between.

At 8 PM my doctor came in and checked, I was 8 cm and we decided together to go ahead and break my waters. After that, surges really picked up. I was standing, leaning on a couch we had in the room and during contractions it felt really nice to squat. I sounded like a wounded cow and the whole hospital probably heard me , but I think they must be somewhat used to it,even though Costa Rica has 93% C-section rates at the moment and very few women have natural births without epidural or some kind of drugs.

Jeff was there the whole time. I would grab on to his hands and arms during contractions and he was pretty amazed at my strength. Ansu asked me if I wanted to get in the shower. We placed the yoga ball inside the shower and I sat on it as the warm water ran down my back and felt really good. I stayed in the shower for about 30 minutes, breathing deeply through each surge. When I got out, Ansu would massage my back and acupressure points and it all felt really relieving.

By 9 PM I was tired , my whole body shaking like a leaf between contractions, probably from the release of so much energy, and I was ready to ask my doctor for an epidural. In fact, I did. Thankfully, Ansu remindedme of my birthing plan, of what a great job I was doing, of my strong belief of having a completely normal physiological birth without drugs, of helping Emma to come into this world naturally and with her sweet voice, motivated me by reminding me how strong I was and how I could do it without interventions, how I had chosen a natural birth in order to prevent Emma from being exposed to drugs and their side effects. Her support was so important for me. I listened and focused on my goal. Deep inside of me Ireally didn't want any interventions, I knew I still had the strength to carry on, I knew I could do it, that I didn't want any drugs to affect Emma, that my body had the power and wisdom to give birth and have the control over this experience. I wanted this freedom, and I told Ansu I would keep going. I had the confidence and faith in my amazing birthing body. I followed my instincts in labor and allowed my body and my baby to do exactly what they knew to do. I surrended to the power of birthing energy "and I let go"!

Soon after I began to feel a strong urge to bear down and push. I kept squatting each time a contraction arrived and felt I was becoming louder and louder, my voice deeper and deeper. Doctor Paer was close to me and trying, with a flashlight to check if Emma's head was seen, but I realized he was very uncomfortable when joking with Ansu, told her her he would need to make a hole in the floor and go down to the first floor of the building to be able to see anything. It was pretty funny afterwards, but at the moment I was so focused that I couldn't really laugh.

I moved to the other room and sat on the bed in a V position. I knew it was all happening, I knew I just needed a few more breaths, some more strength and I would finally have her in my arms. I breathed down and finally someone announced the little head was beginningto show. Jeff was watching, Ansu was motivating me, and I felt like a ring of fire in my perineum, a lacerating, excruciating pain (still not sure about that through HB) . Her head was fully visible, one more deep breath and her whole body came out. Doctor Paer received her and placed her right on my chest. And, THAT is the image and feeling that I will never forget for as long as I live. That tiny, warm, wet body moving on top of me, her voice, her cry, that little miracle being had just come out of me, I felt time stop I felt like in a trance. All I could do was stare at her in disbelief and welcome her into this world.

Emma was born alert and ready to interact with us. Giving birth naturally has definitely increased my self esteem and confidence. I find myself replaying my birth story in my mind over and over. I have discovered power that I never knew that I had! I made Emma and I went through the experience of giving natural birth! It's amazing. I am confident that I have prepared her for the best start in life and myself for the best start at motherhood.


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